Leslie Woodgate

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Hubert Leslie Woodgate OBE (15 April 1900 – 18 May 1961) was an English choral conductor, composer, and writer of books on choral music.

He was born in London, and educated at Westminster School and the Royal College of Music. During the 1920s, he was organist at several London churches. In 1928, he joined the BBC; in 1934, was appointed BBC Chorus Master, taking responsibility for the BBC Chorus, the BBC's large amateur chorus, and the Wireless Chorus and Wireless Singers, made up of professionals.[1] That same year, he conducted the world and broadcast premiere of A Boy Was Born by Benjamin Britten. During the 1930s, he was Musical Director of the London and North Eastern Railway Musical Society: it comprised several amateur male-voice choirs which combined annually for a performance in London; he wrote music for them. He was director of the Kentucky Minstrels, a popular singing group on BBC radio during and immediately after the War. In 1946, he conducted the Wireless Chorus at a Henry Wood Promenade Concert in William Walton's Where Does the Uttered Music Go? He was awarded the OBE in 1959.[2] He married Lena Mason in 1926; they had one son. He died in 1961, at the age of 61.[3][4][5]

Most of his compositions were choral works, but he sometimes wrote for instrumental and orchestral forces. His Op. 1, Hymn to the Virgin and The White Island for male soloist, male choir and orchestra, earned him a Carnegie Prize in 1923. He was an enthusiastic promoter of both amateur and professional singing: his Penguin Song Book of 1951 appears to have been the first musical score published by Penguin Books, and was directed at amateur singers.


  • Woodgate, Leslie (1944). The Chorus Master. London: Ascherberg, Hopwood & Crew Ltd. ASIN B001PHGAJW. 
  • Woodgate, Leslie (1949). The Choral Conductor. London: Ascherberg, Hopwood & Crew Ltd. ASIN B0019MDB9K. 
  • Woodgate, Leslie (1951). The Penguin Song Book. London: Penguin Books. ASIN B0007KDM4Y. 
  • Woodgate, Leslie (1955). The Penguin Part Song Book. London: Penguin Books. ASIN B0000D5D3N. 
  • Woodgate, Leslie (1961). The Puffin Song Book. London: Penguin Books. ASIN B0000D5D3T. 


  1. ^ "The B.B.C. Choral Society: Interview with Leslie Woodgate". The Musical Times. 80 (1157): 493–495. July 1939. doi:10.2307/923391. Retrieved 16 January 2015.  JSTOR archive.
  2. ^ "No. 41727". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 June 1959. p. 3711. 
  3. ^ Scowcroft, Philip. "Chorus Master and Composer: Leslie Woodgate". musicweb-international.com. Retrieved 16 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "Leslie Woodgate (Choral Conductor)". Bach Cantatas Website. Retrieved 16 January 2015. 
  5. ^ Kennedy, Michael (ed.). The Oxford Dictionary of Music: Woodgate, Leslie (PDF). Oxford Music Online (2nd rev. ed.). Oxford University Press. Retrieved 12 November 2014.